Losing 120 pounds in One Year (South Beach Diet)

Jennette (the 'Pasta Queen') has lost more than 120 pounds in just over a year. She has 90 more pounds to lose to get to her goal weight. She started out at 372 pounds in November 2004 and now weighs 249 pounds. Her height is 5'9".

She follows the South Beach Diet and works out on a treadmill five times a week. She doesn't recommend the South Beach Diet for everyone, but it has worked very well for her.

Hers is one of the most authentic and aesthetic sites I've come across in the personal weight loss story online world. She is a web designer by training, and this really shows in the beautiful and interesting presentation of her web site. But she is also an honest and excellent writer.

I really enjoy her 3D progress update photos. You can drag on them, and see her progress in terms of side, front and back photos. She writes about her weight loss experience on a regular basis, and each Saturday she tells us her new weight, regardless whether it is up or down. It's a very inspirational story.

She just noted on her site that she ate way too many chocolates over Christmas but managed to lose weight that week anyway. In her last post, she is selling a pair of size 28 black dress pants on eBay.

Check out her wonderful site at Half of Me.

Enjoying Huge Success with a Low-Carb Diet

Jimmy Moore had an amazing year in 2004. Over the course of that one year he lost 180 pounds. He did this with an Atkins Low-Carb diet. He started right on New Year's Day as a New Year's Resolution and didn't look back. At the beginning of 2004 he weighed just over 400 pounds. By the end of the year he was down to his goal weight of 220 pounds.

But the success didn't stop there. He also started a blog called "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" about his dieting experience and this experiment has seen a huge uptake in reader numbers. He started the blog in April and the growth of his audience has been incredible. By the month of November, he was getting more than 20,000 monthly page views.

He's also written a 188 page book which was published less than two months ago. Check out Livin' La Vida Low-carb: My Journey from Flabby Fat to Sensationally Skinny in One Yearat Amazon.

Angela Hefel Lost 163 Pounds

Angela Hefel lost 163 pounds with the help of Weight Watchers. At her heaviest she weighed 297 pounds and suffered from knee and back pain. Her height is five feet and three and a half inches.

She's the one on the left side (and left insert) of the People Magazine cover pictured here.

She initially joined Weight Watchers in late 1998 and it took her a year and a half to lose 115 pounds. At this point she reached a plateau and tried to maintain the weight loss but gained some of it back. In the summer of 2004 she returned to Weight Watchers and lost another 70 pounds by March 2005. Her total weight loss from her heaviest weight is 163 pounds.

Hefel is 38. She's a school teacher and has been getting lots of public attention for the past few months. In October she was interviewed on ABC's "The View" where she talked about her weight loss. And in early December People Magazine came by for a photo shoot. Hefel will be featured in People's Magazine January 9th special double issue "Half Their Size" about celebrities and regular people who succeeded in their weight loss goals using healthy diet and fitness regimes.

If anyone reading this knows Angela Hefel and could persuade her to do an interview here, I would be so thrilled! I guess the diet part of her weight loss was following a strict Weight Watchers plan. But I think a lot of people would be keen to know what her exercise regime was for that last seventy pounds.

Update January 1st: Angela's husband has just left a comment below. She is on her way to New York today to be on Tuesday's Good Morning America. He thinks she won't mind answering some questions for us. If you've got any q's about her weight loss, please leave them below. I have three questions:

1) In 2004 when you decided to try to lose the last seventy pounds, what was the spark that ignited this decision and made it stick?

2) People Magazine says you initially joined the Weight Watchers 'Flex' plan and started walking three miles about four times per week. What did your exercise regimen consist of when you rejoined a few years later to lose the last seventy pounds?

3) The photos of you in People Magazine are extremely attractive! Is there a chance we could post some of your real-life photos (that haven't had the benefit of professional photographers) on this site?

Thanks so much! I think a lot of people will be looking forward to hearing more about your inspiring story.

Star Jones Reveals her Weight Loss Secret

(Update June 27th: Star Jones has been fired from The View. See details below.)

Star Jones will reveal her weight loss secret next week. She has lost about 150 pounds and lost it very quickly. A lot of people are speculating she did this with the help of weight loss surgery; a gastric bypass.

She doesn't say anything about how she lost the weight on her website, except to say that this has been the question of the year and that it will be answered in her book. She does say a little about her exercise routine however. She exercises at a private facility with a private instructor. She also practices Pilates.

Her book Shine : A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love is supposed to tell everyone the secret of her weight loss. It is due to be released on January 6, 2006:

Update January 5th: People Magazine came out today with a great article and an excerpt from her book. She says she was over 300 pounds on her 41st birthday, and it was at this point, on a holiday with her girlfriends, that she decided to tackle her weight issue.

Just after she lost the first fifty pounds, she met her future husband Al. Starr Jones does say that she had a 'medical intervention' to help her start her weight loss but she refuses to specify what it was. She says she doesn't want to be a poster child for a procedure that could have tragic consequences for someone else. This is actually a very responsible stance for her. Don't you think?

Weight loss surgery is very risky health wise and Star Jones knows that other people will take heart from her method and will be more likely to consider a gastric bypass surgery if she tells the world that was the route to her success with weight loss. But just because it worked well for her doesn't diminish the serious risks of this kind of drastic medical procedure. So her preference is not to personally advertise this as a way to lose weight.

January 11th: Her book has been available for a few days at Amazon now. It's listed as the 103rd best selling book right now.

January 14th:
The Times in New Jersey reported that Star Jones was in the Hamilton Wal-Mart last night autographing her book for hundreds of fans. This is her hometown. She grew up without a father and lived in a Trenton housing project. She went on to get a law degree from the University of Houston.

February 2nd: The View celebrated its 2,000th show today with co-hosts Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones Reynolds, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck celebrating the occasion along with Tom Selleck who was the first celebrity guest at the premiere in 1997.

February 20th: In a recent interview, Star noted her weight loss was not a quick process; "The media focuses on the last 50 lbs I've lost, suggesting it was fast. What they don't realize is it took more than 2 ½ years. Prior to meeting Al, I had lost 40 lbs. After marriage, I went on to lose another 120 lbs‚” .

Star says she has gone from a size 26 to a size 10 over these years.

May 10th: The strong rumor now is that Star Jones is leaving "The View" and that she will be replaced by Gayle King. Also a very strong rumor that Rosie O'Donnell's participation was always contingent on Star Jones Reynolds being asked to leave.

Update June 27th: Star Jones Reynolds told viewers of The View today that she is leaving the show. She has been fired after nine years as a cohost. Not fired exactly, but her contract was simply not renewed. See more updates here as more news comes in.

Here are Barbara Walters' cold as ice comments (June 28th) about Star Jones leaving the show. You can tell she is quite upset about being taken off guard the day before. She hasn't chosen a generous way to say goodbye to her co-host of nine years.

Here's the first video clip where Star Jones makes the surprise announcement (June 27th), live on The View. (Barbara Walters looks uncomfortable here.)

It looks like a lot of time and angst went into both these speeches, and that these two women have unresolved issues between them.

Update June 29th: Here's the Star Jones interview on Larry King.

Update August 7th: The divorce rumors are false. They've been circulating for at least a month now. Keep in mind that there is so much interest out there about Star Jones that any rumor is better than no news. Star Jones is justifiably upset about the media digging into her personal life in this kind of mean-spirited way.

Ten High Fiber Foods

Eating foods that are high in dietary fiber is helpful for anyone wanting to pursue an optimal, healthy diet. But a high fiber diet is especially recommended for people who are obese.

Aside from helping to fight obesity, a high fiber diet can help anyone who suffers from constipation, hemorrhoids, high blood sugar or high cholesterol levels.

Recommended fiber intake is 25-35 grams a day. The majority of us eat less than half of the recommended fiber daily. A cup of fresh raspberries is 8.3 grams of fiber and a bran muffin is between three and five grams of fiber.

Here are ten foods that are unusually high in fiber as well as being amongst the world's healthiest of foods, given their high nutrition value. 'DV' stands for the daily recommended amount based on an average young female.

  • Lentils, Boiled (1 cup) = 78.2% DV
  • Split Peas, Boiled (1 cup) = 81.3% DV
  • Raspberries, Fresh (1 cup) = 41.7% DV
  • Squash, All Winter Varieties (1 cup) = 28.7% DV
  • Avacado, All Varieties (1 cup) = 36.5% DV
  • Rice, Long Grain Brown, Cooked (1 cup) = 17.6% DV
  • Oats, Whole Grain (1 cup) = 19.9% DV
  • Almonds (1/4 cup) = 21.0% DV
  • Sweet Potato, Peeled after Baking (1 cup) = 30.0% DV
  • Flax Seed (1/4 cup) = 54.0% DV

See the World's Healthiest Foods - Fiber Page for detailed info about the health benefits of fiber as well as the best list of fiber rich foods.

See how to make delicious lentil walnut burgers here.

LA Weight Loss Ordered to Reimburse Customers

Several LA Weight Loss Centers have been ordered to pay back Washington State customers up to a total of $800,000.

Apparently these LA Weight Loss Centers misrepresented total program costs to people who were signing up. Customers paid what they thought was the full fee, but were then told they should purchase several hundred dollars more worth of protein bars and supplements.

These LA Weight Loss Centers have also been ordered to stop claiming that their supplements have any weight loss benefits unless they gather some scientific evidence to back their claims.

People in Washington State who think they were misled when they enrolled in an LA Weight Loss program sometime in the past two years have 90 days to request a refund.

If you believe you are one of these people, you need to provide reasonable support for your claim and to file a request with the LA Weight Loss Centre you were a member of as well as with the Attorney General’s Office in Olympia and the Better Business Bureau in DuPont, WA.

For more information about this settlement, see an article at Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Earlier this year the Diet-Blog did a critical write-up about the LA Weight Loss program and 62 people have left comments on this blog about their experience with this program. Check out these comments for a more complete view of different people's experience with LA Weight Loss.

Tempestt Bledsoe's Weight Loss Progress Watch

Tempestt Bledsoe has signed up for this year's version of the Celebrity Fit Club. The reality show begins airing on VH1 on January 1st at 9:00pm.

Tempestt is the former child star of the Cosby Show. Tempesst is now 32. She was born on August 1st 1973. She is 5'8" and currently weighs 181 pounds. Her goal is to lose thirty pounds and get to 151 pounds. The picture here was taken in October of 2005.

I'm keen to track her weight loss progress here and see if she can come through with her goal of losing 30 pounds. I'll be updating this post on a regular basis.

Other cast members of the Celebrity Fit Club's third season include Chastity Bono (daughter of Sonny and Cher), Jeff Conaway ("Taxi," "Grease"), Countess Vaughn ("The Parkers"), Bruce Vilanch (writer/comedian, "Hollywood Squares"), Kelly LeBrock ("The Woman In Red"), Young MC (rapper, "Bust A Move") and Bizarre (actor/rapper), of D12, ("The Longest Yard"- '05).

Electronic Tools for Weight Loss

2005 was the year for the introduction of lots of electronic gadgets to help with your weight loss program.

Many people don't want to carry around journals to keep track of their calories. In 2005, Weight Watchers introduced a service where people could track their calories on Palm hand-held computers. This is a free service for people who are already paying the $12.95 monthly membership for the Weight Watchers online site.

Skyscape introduced a service called the South Beach Diet OnHand which people can download onto their cellphone or hand-held computer. It enables people to look up appropriate recipes for the South Beach Diet while shopping for groceries or to choose what to order in a restaurant. It's also updated with a daily e-mail newsletter (The Daily Dish) which offers new South Beach Diet recipes, the latest research, success stories and diet news. The service costs $20 per year.

Nokia introduced a phone in early 2005 (5140 model) which can be used as a 'virtual fitness coach'. It lets you plan your workout schedule depending on your goals. For example if you want to be able to run a marathon in ten months, it will give you a personalized weekly workout routine to help you meet that goal. Several other cell phone makers are also scrambling to offer similar options.

Samsung Electronics in Korea has even made a cellphone which lets you measure your body fat ratio by touching your finger to a sensor on the phone!

2006 will probably see a huge burst of innovations in the weight loss electronic tools market.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Online

The pic above is the The South Beach Diet OnHand software at Amazon.

The Mayo Clinic Diet - Healthy Weight Loss

The Mayo Clinic Diet program is based on healthy eating and sustainable weight loss. It's not a rapid way to lose weight. Rather it's a very healthy way to lose weight and keep it off for the long term.

The main aspects of their weight loss program is encouraging people to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They call it 'low energy density' and it means you are eating a lot of bulky foods that have few calories. This will help make you feel full and these foods are very nutritious, so it will help you in all aspects of your health, not just with weight loss.

Last week, the Mayo Clinic teamed up with to make their weight loss program available on the eDiets website. If you subscribe to this plan on eDiets you will get weekly personalized menus, charting and results reports, do's and don'ts for losing weight and other personalized online advice.

But you don't need to subscribe to the plan to benefit from their basic recommendations - just try making vegetables and fruits a large part of your total diet. See more about Eating More to Lose Weight in a previous post here.

The Best Diet is One that Suits You

Researchers have found that the most successful diet programs are ones that appeal to the people trying them out.

The director of Obesity Research at Tufts-New Medical Center recommends that people consider a broad spectrum of choices when they consider a weight loss program.

He notes that of the 8,000 successful dieters in their survey, the majority listed "my own diet and exercise regimen" as the most effective strategy they used. Only nineteen percent of the successful dieters had attended a commercial weight loss program and only about thirty percent had looked at one or more diet books.


Buying a Treadmill for Your Exercise Program

Treadmills have improved a lot in quality over the years and are now the most popular workout machine in the U.S. According to Consumer Reports, they are also the most likely exercise machine to actually be used instead of abandoned.

See one man's treadmill weight loss success story here.

There are three basic types of treadmills based on price categories. The cheap treadmills sell for between $300 to $700. They are good for walking workouts but not usually sturdy enough for running. They usually include a 10-mph top speed and a ten percent maximum inline, a display for speed, distance, time and calories.

The midrange treadmills sell for between $800 and $1,800 and are much sturdier than the cheaper basic models. They are good for walking as well as occasional running. They have all the features of basic treadmills, plus a heart-rate monitor and exercise programs.

The high-end treadmills are good for regular running and usually have a more powerful motor as well as a sturdier construction than the mid-range models. They retail for about $2,000 to $3,500.

Consumer Reports recommends you actually try out the treadmill before buying one. If you plan on running on the treadmill, make sure the belt is at least 18 inches wide by 50 inches long. Buy one with a safety key if you have small children around.

Treadmills prices are dropping. There will probably be lots of sales and discounts offered around the New Year. The treadmill shown aboveis a Horizon brand and just went on sale for $800 (regular price is $1,300).

Link Between Arthritis and Being Overweight

There is a clear link between being overweight and being more likely to experience joint pain in the hands, knees, hips, back and neck.

Medical researchers don't know why exactly the excess weight leads to a higher incidence of osteoarthritis. The extra weight would increase the load placed on joints such as knees and hips and could speed up the breakdown of cartiledge. But overweight people are also more likely to suffer from hand arthritis so there must be more to the connection - perhaps something which involves the circulating systemic factor as well.

Obese women have four times the risk of knee osteoarthritis as non-obese women. Obese men are five times as likely to suffer from knee osteoarthritis. Studies have found that even small amounts of weight loss can reduce the risk of developing knee OA and that weight loss decreases knee pain substantially.

For more information about the relationship between osteoarthritis and body weight, see the John Hopkins page on Arthritis.

Cathi Lee's Story - Losing Three Hundred and Thirty Pounds

Cathi Lee has lost 330 pounds over the past three years.

Her weight loss program consists of giving up on junk food and exercising. She had no help from a doctor or dietician but she did a lot of research on healthy weight-loss before starting her program.

She is 5'4 tall and used to weigh 500 pounds. Now she weighs 170 and fits into a size 12 petite.

She was so obese that she couldn't exercise at all in the first year. She lost 90 pounds in that first year by changing her diet only. Last year she started exercising by walking just a quarter of a mile a day. After greatly increasing her walking routine over that year she joined a gym in October 2004. By October of 2005 she completed a 26 mile marathon in six hours. (Update: to be more precise, I believe her marathon finishing time was six hours and six minutes.)

The focus of her successful diet is lots of vegetables and fruits, with fish and chicken being the main proteins.

People Magazine interviewed Cathy Lee in October and just took some photos of her to feature in their December 30th upcoming edition. I guess this edition may have a New Year's Resolution weight loss focus. It should be available at your local supermarket by December 29th.

Update December 28th: Cathi Lee was interviewed on NBC's Today show today. If anyone knows if this info is available online somewhere, please comment below.

Update December 29th: Thanks much to Stacy Meyer Jochem. She is Cathi's marathon training partner and she left a note here telling us where we can see the interview with Cathi Lee on MSN.COM. (See her comment below).

As well today I notice People Magazine has just announced their "Half Their Size" issue. It's a special-double issue that will be on newstands for two weeks beginning tomorrow. The focus is on how famous celebrities and regular people have lost their weight. The stories discuss healthy weight-loss and don't include examples of surgery, fad diets or diet pills.

What I find really interesting about Cathi Lee's story is that she did her own research and is following her own unique diet. It would be great to know more about her daily eating plan.

Update January 15th: Cathi Lee will be interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America tomorrow morning.

Knee Pain Caused by Being Overweight

If you suffer from knee pain and are also significantly overweight, consider trying to lose the weight before taking more drastic steps such as knee surgery.

Losing weight can help people who suffer from knee arthritis. The extra weight is putting stress on your weight bearing joints. If you know your knee pain is due to arthritis, than losing weight may cure the condition. Several studies have shown this to be the case.

For an example of one man who was considering knee surgery but lost fifty pounds in twelve weeks instead (via a change in diet and exercise) and cured his knee pain, see a previous post here on Michael Becker.

Your doctor would be the best person to consult about this, but I would think that before opting for knee joint surgery, most people should probably consider weight loss (if overweight), increased appropriate exercise, glucosamine and/or the wearing of an unloading knee brace.

Unloading braces ('valgus knee braces') were developed about ten years ago and are often recommended to people who have knee pain due to osteoarthritis. To the extent that they can help reduce pain they can also be used by people who want to exercise in order to lose weight but find it too painful to do so because of knee pain.

Addicted to Food - A Quiz

Do you feel you have a food addiction?

Do you think about your weight or about food constantly? Do you find yourself trying different diets regularly with no long-term success? Have you ever wanted to stop eating and couldn't?

These are three questions on a list of twenty devised by the people at Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. If you answer yes to any of these questions you may be a food addict. You can take their food addiction quiz here.

FA is based on similar principles as Alcoholics Anonymous. They hold regular meetings in dozens of cities. Many people find the program very effective. It is helpful to be in the company of others who are struggling with addictive eating and to share experiences and mutual support. FA is free and does not involve weigh-ins at meetings. Membership is open to anyone who wants help with their food addiction. For more info, check out the nearest FA meeting venue in your city.

Michael Becker: Before and After Pictures

Is it really possible to change ones appearance so much in only twelve weeks? Here is Michael Beckers 'before' photo and an 'after losing 56 pounds' photo. He initially weighed 280 pounds and now weighs 227 pounds.

His body fat ratio went from 27.4 percent to 8.8 percent. He lost 56 pounds of fat and gained three pounds of muscle. He is one of the six finalists in the running for a one million dollar prize in the Body-for-Life Challenge. The winning candidate will be chosen in the second week of January 2006. See the six finalists here.

Update January 13th: The million dollar winner will be announced tomorrow. My bet is on Michael Becker.

Update: I guessed wrong. The winner was Aaron Ferguson.

Losing Weight: Before and After Pictures

If you've started losing weight and you need a little more inspiration to keep going, this is a fun diversion you may find interesting. These are some examples of virtual models at 'before' and 'after' weight loss.

The example model above is 5'7". Here we see her picture at 220 pounds, 190 pounds, 155 pounds and 135 pounds.

You can try this out for yourself to see what you might look like if you weighed less. You can design your own model at the Land's End website and specify a hairstyle, general body shape, nose, mouth, face shape, skin color and hair color. Enter your weight and height and see what you might look like for each ten pounds that you will lose.

The examples above are a 6' tall man at 260 pounds and at 190 pounds. The woman in the middle is 5'4 and 200 pounds versus an after picture of 120 pounds. The last female is 5'7 and 221 pounds versus 130 pounds.

Losing Sixty Pounds in Nine Months - A personal story

Kim Ayres has lost 66 pounds over nine months. And he has written a very interesting blog about his experience. His weight loss story is not finished yet. It sounds as though he would like to lose at least another 45 pounds.

He has a very engaging, modest and whimsical writing style. Here's an example;

When I was a teenager I used to fantasize about having my own pair of breasts to play with. Now, as an overweight, middle-aged man, I seem to have them - and it’s not as much fun as I thought it would be.

He doesn't say how tall he is but he does tell us he weighed 19 stone and 9 pounds when he started his weight loss routine. I've no idea what that is in pounds.

Kim is not on a diet. He doesn't believe dieting is the way to long term weight loss. His secret has been to switch to wholesome foods and cut out all processed foods.

See his story here.
Update: See his comment below.